Reason Why Fingerprints Are Used in Identification.

The “Will and William West case.” In 1903, a case of mistaken identity occurred in the United Kingdom. Two unrelated men named William West were both arrested on the same day. They looked very similar, and their identification became confusing for the authorities.

One of the men, Will West, was already a prisoner at Leavenworth Penitentiary in the United States. During the booking process of the new William West, his Bertillon measurements (a system of physical measurements used for identification) matched those of the existing prisoner, Will West. This raised doubts about the reliability of the Bertillon system.

Alphonse Bertillon, a pioneer in forensic science, was using various physical measurements as a means of identifying individuals. However, the case exposed the limitations of this method, as two individuals with different backgrounds and identities could share the same physical measurements.

As a result of this case, the value of fingerprints as a more reliable method of identification gained prominence. This eventually led to the widespread adoption of fingerprinting as a primary means of personal identification in criminal investigations and law enforcement. It’s a pivotal moment in the history of forensic science and criminal identification methods.

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